Tanya Cohen, Featured Yogi
A bright smile in our Root 2 Rise Yoga community since 2013, Tanya Cohen, shares her perspective through her 9-year evolving yoga journey, “I thank myself a thousand times that I did something for me. I learned to listen to myself and remember that I have a choice.”
Yoga has not always been a happy place for Tanya, as she reminisces why her physical therapist, doctor and caring friend adamantly prescribed it for her healing in 2009. She woke up one morning and literally couldn’t get out of bed. She suffered a badly injured spine and a plethora of accumulated medical issues. It was her body’s protest after enduring 11 years of rigorous physical labor in multiple jobs to sustain her family after her relocation from Uzbekistan while caring for her husband who was suddenly left paralyzed after a stroke. In the early years of yoga, her practice was a necessary medicine, which Tanya swallowed reluctantly because she knew it was somehow helping her body. She admits that her approach was diligent, competitive and sometimes forceful to the point of pain. From 2-3 times a month then, to several times a week now, she shows up to her mat in class. She reveals in our interview, as we sit in her warm car on the gym parking lot:
I don’t know when it started that I wanted to go (to yoga class). After, I feel freedom in my body. Small details make a big difference. You bring people to believe in themselves. You teach us how to listen to ourselves. If it’s uncomfortable it’s okay. But if it hurts, don’t push. I feel full of life, a lot of energy after yoga.
Laughing playfully about her body’s inflexibility as a young child of 3 or 5, she proclaims, “I believe it doesn’t matter what age. I’ve never been stronger and more flexible (than I am now). Now I know to breathe and my body listens to me.” Smiling radiantly, Tanya reminisces her first Root 2 Rise Yoga community event she attended outside of our weekly classes in 2013-- a Candlelight Yoga + Live Music + Wine at a studio in Northridge. She says she fell in love with her practice and joined other community events, exploring hikes for her first time ever during our yoga-in-nature excursions in Malibu. She claims, “ I started to enjoy myself completely. Yoga became not just exercise, but it helped my mind, soul and body. A new world opened for me.”
When not practicing yoga in class or sharing her lightheartedness at our community Hike + Yoga events, Tanya works full-time as a Special Education Teacher in LA and treasures her family time. As a former professional piano teacher in her native country and fashion designer during her early years in Los Angeles, her heart and style continue to revel in creativity, infusing passion into her yoga practice of self-kindness and human connection.
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Michelle truly lives out what she teaches. She is so much more than a yoga teacher - I learned this when I went on her exquisitely curated trip that she organized to Costa Rica this past June 2018...Hopefully like me, you'll be delighted by her effervescent love of movement, nature, and all people!
Michelle clearly stands out with her beautiful and bright energy. I love how her practice and teaching encompass body, mind and spirit. She not only teaches yoga but lives and exudes it.
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Michelle is by far one of the best instructors I've ever had, period. Patient, clear in her explanations and demos, and so encouraging...
My first yoga class was with Michelle years ago. You can have the best (yoga pose) sequence and not teach from your heart. With Michelle, I also feel her passion when I'm in her class. I can see she loves what she does, and she inspired me to want to teach yoga, too.
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I'm so grateful to have met Michelle! Her kind energy opened up my interest in pursuing yoga and meditation. She is such an incredibly light and soul. She starts with grounding ourselves through mindfulness and breathing exercise. She brings the most authentic energy to the class by sharing the history and understanding behind poses, names, and techniques. I truly appreciate her work and impact on my well-being!
I’ve had dozens of instructors over the years, but Michelle is far and away the best yoga mentor I’ve ever practiced with. She epitomizes grace during these difficult times. Michelle has saved my sanity and my back while working from home, keeping me grounded with her sharing of yogic teachings and meditation techniques. Her repertoire of physical asanas is encyclopedic, and I’ve loved learning new poses and stretching my boundaries. Jump in, all. You’ve got this!
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